One Dillon candidate missing from Monday1s forum |

One Dillon candidate missing from Monday1s forum

Lu Snyder

DILLON<Only five of Dillon1s six candidates were present at a forum hosted by Summit County Democrats Monday night.Council member candidates John Younger, Mike Smith and write-in candidate Lorin Gardner were there, as were mayoral candidates Barbara Davis and Ben Raitano. But the seat for write-in mayoral candidate Christopher Orchard remained empty.Orchard has been unavailable for comment since submitting an affidavit earlier this month to be a write-in candidate for mayor.Among the topics discussed at the forum were Dillon1s economic vitality, open space, paving the marina, and traffic problems, among others.Jennifer Pratt Miles, a mediator with the Meridian Institute in Dillon, facilitated the event<asking questions randomly of the candidates, with no two candidates answering the same question.- Open spaceAs Dillon approaches build-out, the options for open space acquisitions get slimmer. For this reason, Smith said, open space needs to be a top priority with the town.3I think it1s vitally important to purchase open space, he said. 3I am not anti-development, (but) I think we need to retain some of our open space.As for the protection of the lakefront, Younger said, 3I think it1s been well-protected.He said that while towns do 3evolve and change … I would like to see that remain a park area.- PavingPaving seems to be one of the more contentious issues among Dillon citizens, and several questions involved the issue of paving, including, 3 Do you feel it is necessary to pave the marina, and are there any alternatives? and 3How much paving is too much?While Dillon already has budgeted and scheduled to pave the upper portion of the Dillon Marina parking lot, both Davis and Raitano said they would like to examine alternatives.Davis said she would like to find a permeable material to use instead of pavement, to mitigate problems caused by paving.In his closing statement, Raitano said he doesn1t agree with paving the parking lots.Gardner said the paving question really must be answered by the citizens.3I wouldn1t be quite as bold to say any paving is too much, Gardner said. However, many citizens clearly are against the current trend to pave streets and a marina, he said, and more citizen involvement is necessary to find an agreeable solution.- Citizen inputAlso of concern is the relationship between town council members and Dillon residents.The current 3poor relationship between the two groups is the main reason Gardner said he chose to run for council. From his perspective, Gardner said, the current council meeting format is not conducive to citizen involvement, and that he would like to take steps to change that.Throughout the forum, Gardner emphasized the importance of citizen input, commissions and boards in the governmental process. A few months ago, he said, he stood before the council and proposed the formation of a cemetery board.Davis said the council needs to foster an atmosphere in which residents are comfortable approaching town officials to discuss issues.Raitano agreed.3I would form more citizen committees and let them have more say, Raitano said. 3I think we need to have much more citizen input.Smith said he would like to see more citizen input as well<especially during the town1s budgeting session.3The people of this town … really need to become more involved, Smith said.Younger invited citizens to come speak with him about any problems.- Downtown DillonTo lure more people to downtown Dillon, Davis said, she would like to gather a committee of citizens to examine what can be done to improve the town1s core and increase the town1s economic vitality.The town once had an economic development committee made up of Dillon business people. Both Davis and Raitano said they would like to reinstate a similar committee.3I would like to see it come back, Raitano said. 3We need to work with businesses. We would get more done together rather than doing things separately.Smith said the town core probably is one of the town1s major weaknesses. Dillon clearly cannot compete against the Silverthorne factory stores down the road, he said, and so must utilize other business options to 3bring people through the town core area.- TreesSeveral citizens asked questions pertaining to the loss of trees in Dillon from pine bark beetle and magnesium chloride.When asked about the possibility of reforestation efforts, Younger said he doesn1t believe the town has a problem: 3most of the trees are healthy, he said.But in his closing statement, Younger said he would be glad to meet with the citizen who posed the question to learn more.Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or

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